How a church changed summer for one special needs family

 

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One email.

That was all it took.

A lot of courage but just one email.

Last summer was so hard and I knew I could not face it again so I swallowed my pride and dropped my Church office a note.

‘Could anyone help me out?…’

They responded quickly. They responded lovingly. They reached out and changed my entire summer.

A few weeks before the schools broke up I was asked to meet with them. They had ideas and I had ideas and we discussed simple ways people, many we hardly knew, could help us through the challenges of seven weeks holiday with two complex needs children.

I suggested perhaps one meal a week that I didn’t have to cook or prepare. They went above and beyond and hand delivered up to three meals a week, some of them arriving still hot and ready to be served. Roast chicken, bolagnaise, curry, home made cakes, puddings, side dishes and sometimes even a starter too! That someone would take the time to buy ingredients, cook a meal and deliver it just for us is truly overwhelming. Every little pea, or grain of rice shared spoke of love in action.

It was suggested that people could sit with my children to allow my husband and myself an hour for a coffee. One hour during the holidays would have been amazing but once again they went one step further and my children looked forward with excitement to the two ‘best babysitters’ who came once a week for a couple of hours whatever the weather. Two hours out of their week but that time to me was like a wave of respite and sanctuary in a stormy ocean. It also had the added bonus that every Sunday my children ran to the two woman, desperate to see them again and connect with them even more. Every minute of time spent together sowing seeds of love that will change both my children and the precious ladies.

imageAnother couple invited me to bring the children to her house one day. Neither of us were to know it would be the hottest day of the summer and the children had a wonderful time in a paddling pool (well my son preferred a plastic crate!) and watering plants. Precious memories for me, the children, but also for the couple who also enjoyed a wonderful day shared with friends. My children were able to be themselves without imagepressure or stress and their needs almost disappeared as quickly as the water did from the paddling pool when my son decided to tip it out! One day; a million memories made.

I mentioned at the meeting that there was one day I could not even begin to face that summer. It was a day I had dreaded for months as I could see no practical solution in sight. I had a very important hospital appointment to attend in a hospital miles from home that would take hours. Due to the treatment I needed it was not possible for the children to attend. The appointment could not be cancelled and I had no idea how I was going to do it. In stepped the church once again with a plan. What did my children like doing? Where was their favourite place to go? What do they like eating? And so, with tears in my eyes, a plan was formed. My non verbal, severely autistic, lift loving son, would get to go on his favourite lift tour on a train to the city with three adults to support him. I would provide nappies, clothes, money and anything else and they would provide the manpower. Meanwhile my autistic, nervous, selective mute daughter would be looked after at home in the comfort of her own surroundings to keep her anxiety at bay. How do you ever replay people for giving you something like that? It would be no exaggeration to call them angels.

imageIn among this I received texts of encouragement, prayers, hugs and someone even delivered nappies that they saw advertised for free on social media and thought about me and my son immediately. In fact I felt so encouraged I began fundraising to build my children a sensory room and with the help of the church all the funds were raised within just four weeks. We are currently building that now.

This summer has been so different to any other. For the first time I have not felt isolated, forgotten or alone. My church changed summer for my special needs family and I can not thank them enough.

Matthew 25:40 (NIV) “The King will reply, β€˜Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

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16 thoughts on “How a church changed summer for one special needs family

  1. SUCH A BEAUTIFUL STORY, its hard for a special need family to go through the summer without any help, I too am a mother of a disabled son, and I too received help from my church, I felt that God sent me their one morning to have the help of the community to be with me in time of need. our son needed surgery in the usa and we needed to pay, and they stepped in to help in many ways, and on the day of his surgery, where most children after surgery are not able to eat or having to take a lot of pain management, our son in all his 6 days, didn’t complain once, not even during his physio session. and I believe it was all the churches prayers that kept him in their thoughts, I know we belong now where as before I was lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Miriam, what an amazingly supportive and kind group of people at your church. And I am willing to bet they were delighted to be able to help out. This is such an uplifting post, and I’m not even a church-goer (sadly, for all the kind people in our village a lot of the church types are ones who tell me my children are autistic because I didn’t pray enough.) Ah well, their loss.

    I hope this means you will be able to ask again when you feel the need, and get that precious hour off, or a morning out again.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What an amazing story Miriam! Well done for taking the bravest decision to speak to your church and a huge well done to your church in response. Thank you for sharing such great, encouraging and inspiring news. I think your church rocks!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s brilliant they all helped you I know the feeling my son is is your son’s class my friend daughter is trying to help me get a garden done for my son every little helps

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: How a church changed summer for one special needs family | faithmummy

  6. Ghthis is great. Church often gets a bad rap but when we do community well it’s so brilliant πŸ™‚ Really glad they could step in and make things so much easier for you x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so wonderful and made me cry. I have reblogged it to share with others as it is a model for us all. I thank God you had the courage to ask for help and that he showered you with more than you could have expected in reply. Bless you and your church.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. that’s really lovely, congratulations to the good people of faith at your church, they sound like they are living their faith not just hypocritically spouting it, i’m so glad you asked for help and this is a lovely community story ❀ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this so much Miriam. In my experience people are often willing to help but don’t know how to offer it. I think it’s great that you are so willing to ask for help and accept it when it is offered. This will enable your church to become a more caring and inclusive place for all families of children with additional needs.

    Liked by 1 person

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